Photographer's Note

Bab es-Sik at Petra

The Nabataeans were an ancient people whose original homeland lay in northeastern Arabia. They migrated westward in the 6th century BC, settling eventually in the mountain fortress of Petra. In 847 BC, when the Nabataeans were still living in Arabia in the area of Medain Saleh, they were mentioned as enemies of Assur. The Nabataeans appear to have been a rather turbulent but highly talented people, who were originally employed in plundering but later became more artistically inclined. In Medain Saleh they had already begun carving out rock tombs with sculptured facades, an art for which they would become renowned at Petra.

According to ancient writers, the Nabataeans were the only people in the Near East to be ruled by a democratic monarchy. The Nabataeans drove the Edomites out of Jordan at the time when the Persians had taken the lead as a world power, and Petra probably became the capital of their kingdom in the 4th century BC. Aside from this, little is known of the Nabateans' history before 312 BC, when they were unsuccessfully attacked in Petra by the Seleucid king Demetrius I Poliorcetes (one of Alexander the Great's generals).

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Additional Photos by Achim Fried (John_F_Kennedy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5281 W: 56 N: 10482] (43763)
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